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The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
Agenda items 57, 58 and 60 to 73 (continued)
Thematic discussion on item subjects and introduction and consideration of all draft resolutions submitted under all disarmament and international security items
Mr. Baeidi Nejad (Islamic Republic of Iran): My statement will focus on regional disarmament and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones has been widely recognized as an important and decisive way to promote nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. In fact, nuclear-weapon-free zones have become necessary complementary steps towards achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. Unfortunately, despite the strong call by the international community, a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East has yet to be established. No practical step has been taken to respond to the demand of 29 years of relevant General Assembly resolutions or to the urgent call that review conferences of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) have made since 1995.
The establishment of a region free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East has now been facilitated by the accession to the NPT of all parties in the region except Israel. Israel is the only party in the region that continues, in defiance of the international community, to challenge the fundamental principles of the non-proliferation regime and that consequently declines to join the NPT. Israel, which suffers from its illegitimacy in the region, has chosen a policy of terror, intimidation and expansion. Therefore, Israel is pursuing an active programme of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, which has subjected the entire region to insecurity and volatile tension. Israel is operating a clandestine nuclear weapons programme at the Dimona site, which has lacked safeguards since its establishment. In fact, Israel has refused to allow any inspectors — even inspectors from its allied countries — to enter the site.
What is more important, Israel, through its policy of rejecting multilateral disarmament agreements, has created a situation in which States in the region are insecure about acceding to international treaties on weapons of mass destruction. My country, as an original State party to the NPT, to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), is extremely concerned at this menacing situation. Ultimately, Israel, in trying to justify its universally unacceptable policy, has continuously directed false and unverified accusations against other countries in the region.
The situation in the region is hectic and only a clear policy of all parties in the region to adhere to multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament agreements, along with sincere efforts to make the region free from weapons of mass destruction, can save lives and create peace and security. We should therefore spare no effort in consolidating our stance to further promote this objective.
Three basic steps need to be taken in this context. Israel should first accede to the NPT and place its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency. To that end, as the second step, the developed States should particularly refrain from transferring or exporting relevant materials, equipment and technology to Israel, which has not committed itself to the non-proliferation and disarmament cause. Thirdly, all other parties to the NPT in the region should comply and continue to comply with their obligations under the Treaty.
The reiteration in this year’s draft resolution — which is expected to be adopted by consensus — of the long-standing principled position of the international community with regard to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and a region free from weapons of mass destruction is but another occasion for a manifestation of the determination of the General Assembly to further this important initiative.
Mr. Alkubaisi (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
Draft resolution A/C.1/57/L.27 refers to a resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). That Conference paid special attention to the Middle East, adopting a separate resolution on it, calling on countries that have not yet acceded to the Treaty, without exception, to do so without delay and to adopt the safeguards regime. The same resolution called upon the States of the region to take effective and practical measures to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
In 1974, the General Assembly first adopted a resolution regarding the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Another such resolution was adopted in 1980 by consensus. All Arab countries have acceded to the Treaty, as is mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General, document A/53/379. But Israel, to date, has not acceded to the Treaty, and there has been no progress in that regard. Its nuclear installations have not been subjected to the safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The State of Qatar has reiterated in international forums its sincere wish to make the Middle East a region free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Most recently, a statement was made by the Qatari Minister for Foreign Affairs before the General Assembly on 17 September 2002, in which he said:
“We in the Middle East are threatened by a clear imbalance of power. Israel is the only country in the region that possesses an arsenal of nuclear weapons and refuses to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We appeal to all peace-loving countries to demand that Israel accede to the Treaty and submit its nuclear installations to the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” (A/57/PV.12, p. 29)
The report of the Secretary-General entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” (A/57/454) notes that the General Assembly, in paragraph 2 of resolution 56/27, reaffirmed the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and placement of all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East.
The Secretary-General also referred to resolution GC(46)RES/16 of the IAEA conference entitled “Application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East”, which emphasized the urgent need for the resolution adopted on 20 September 2002 to be accepted by all countries of the Middle East, and also the need for the early application of IAEA safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region as a confidence-building measure among the countries of the region. Peace and security must also be strengthened in order to create a region that is free of nuclear weapons.
The General Conference of the IAEA adopts a similar resolution every year, emphasizing the importance of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapon in helping to create a region that is completely free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and the need to strengthen peace and security there.
In conclusion, if we wish to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction, this resolution is extremely vital and important and has positive implications for the countries of the region. The maintenance of peace depends on moral respect for agreements concluded among various parties. Israel must therefore destroy its nuclear arsenals, which would help bring about a just and lasting peace in the region. We in the State of Qatar aspire to a better future and wish to live in a region that is free of weapons of mass destruction, so that the peoples of the Middle East can promote their interests and build their societies, raise their economic standards and live in peace.
Mr. Tajouri (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
In this connection, I would like to touch on two topics. First, my delegation supports draft resolution A/C.1/57/L.28, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”. The draft resolution was introduced by the delegation of sisterly Egypt. We understand the need to establish such zones, since their main objective is to serve international peace and security. My country firmly believes in the need to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. We also believe in the need to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones. The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya emphasizes that, as a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), it has signed the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty — the Pelindaba Treaty.
The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has stressed the need to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. However, the Israelis’ refusal to accede to the NPT or to place their nuclear installations under the comprehensive safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has impeded the fulfilment of this collective demand, which has been voiced in many United Nations resolutions, including the resolutions adopted in the outcome documents of the Fifth and Sixth Review Conferences of the Parties to the NPT, held respectively in 1995 and 2000.
In order to achieve international peace and security, my country calls upon the international community to ensure the implementation of those resolutions, by the Israelis in particular. The international community must bring more pressure to bear on the Israelis to comply with the international will, accede to the NPT and place their nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards regime of the IAEA. They should also agree to a specific time frame, according to which Israeli weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, will be destroyed.
The Acting Chairman ( spoke in Spanish ): I call on the observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Mr. Hajihosseini (Organization of the Islamic Conference): Since this is my first time addressing the Committee at this session, allow me to extend our sincere congratulations to the Chairman and, through him, to the other members of the Bureau on their election to their high offices. We are confident that the proceedings of this Committee will be successfully steered under his able and wise leadership. I also wish to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report on agenda item 63, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”, contained in documents A/57/214, A/57/214/Add.1 and A/57/214/Add.2.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) keenly observes and participates in the deliberations of the First Committee, which addresses issues of concern to its member States, all of whom are also States Members of the United Nations. We shall be following those issues with much interest.
Among them are the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East. Having recognized the fact that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is an effective means to prevent nuclear proliferation and should contribute towards nuclear disarmament and lead to the ultimate goal of general and complete disarmament, the Organization of the Islamic Conference has had this issue on its agenda since 1976.
Since then, progress has been made on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa following the successful conclusion of the 1996 signing ceremony in Egypt of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. Our organization welcomed and has supported that positive development. And the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, at its twenty-ninth session, held in Khartoum, Sudan, in June 2002, has joined the international community in welcoming the recent agreement to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia as a very important step in the disarmament process.
As for the region of the Middle East, it is regrettable that Israel remains an obstacle — in fact the only obstacle — to achieving the goal of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region. In that regard, the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, at the session to which I referred, has adopted a resolution urging all States, particularly nuclear-weapon States, to exert pressure on Israel to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It also called on the international community, and the Security Council in particular, to compel Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions, particularly Security Council resolution 487 (1981), and to immediately implement the resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) calling for the submission of all Israeli atomic facilities to the IAEA comprehensive safeguard system. I should add that the resolution also requested all Member States of the OIC to maintain and further coordinate their positions at the United Nations and other relevant international forums to promote the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
The meeting rose at 4.30 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.